June 19, 2018, 8:00 pm
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More traction, less friction assure e-commerce success

IN the e-commerce space, retailers easily come and go. Those who have become successful are those who have created mutually beneficial partnerships in both the selling and payment space.

At an intimate get together with media at their hip new headquarters Argomall CEO Karel Holub—also known as the Chief Argonaut—emphasized that getting an online consumer products retailer is one part of the equation. Getting customers to stick to the site amidst many “distractions” from other online retailers along with providing the best price “on-the-spot” and an optimized payment channel have been its most successful tactics.

“The strategy is almost the same for all online retailers—but not many people realize it is not simply building an e-commerce site or an app, but finding the best way to engage customers,” Holub said in a one-on-one discussion.

Argomall, a Czech e-commerce start-up has a catalog of over 3,000 products but not one is kept in its sprawling warehouse-converted-to-NASA space station. This is one of its core strengths. By not keeping inventory of gadgets ranging from smartwatches, TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones, it is able to get the best price from its suppliers, as well as the fastest delivery times possible because everything comes “from the source.”

What cuts through the clutter for Argomall is its excellent customer service, initially serviced by a conversation bot and later taken over by actual humans who are empowered with to provide service, and not simply close a sale.

 The chatbot extends from its website and has an equivalent on Messenger. Using the Messenger app eases the sales process by letting users place an order without leaving Messenger. This works perfectly in the Philippines where Facebook comes free on a text of call subscription. This “free data” system allows for shopping or buying with less or no cost compared to logging into an e-commerce storefront or even an app.

“We have plans for an app, but our website, which is also mobile responsive and chatbot work perfectly,” Holub said when asked if there will be an app. 

The conversation creates the “stickiness” crucial to the purchasing process. Buyers can hold on to the purchase and think for a few days. Continue to ask the live customer service for assistance on what to buy, or simply choose by very specific criteria or an interplay of criteria to get to a quick decision on what to buy. 

Doing this creates traction for the purchase, without Argonauts (the name Argomall calls its customer service representatives) doing any hard selling. It also reduces the friction of sales. In the manner of converting from cold customers to hot prospect to finally actual buyers, the Argomall system has a high batting average.

“It goes all the way to the payment process,” Holub emphasizes.

Home Credit, another Czech start-up gone big, is Argomall’s partner in the payment space. Offering 24-hour loan approval with the use of just 2 approved IDs and requiring no credit card the payment option is embedded in Argomall with a ready computation of a monthly based on the price of the product and the preferred payment options based in turn on the profile of the customer.

“Argomall’s simple processes help cut down the decision making for the customer and Home Credits simple payment systems further decrease the stress of buying online. Both processes are 100 percent safe and totally convenient to the customer because everything is done online,” Ayoub Kassour, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Lead, Home Credit Philippines.

 The partnership has yielded maximum results for both companies. Without revealing the numbers Holub said the growth is “really significant” since they partnered with Home Credit. Likewise Home Credit credits Argomall’s “smooth moves” in the purchasing process that makes it easier for customers to choose products and decide quickly.

The gathering “Booze and Bread,” the brainchild of Argomall’s Chief Communication Officer Amiel Mendoza, also introduced the select group of information technology media to Czech beer and breads. – Raymond G.B. Tribdino
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